Fusing Old and New: Visual Communication for the Liberal Arts

Teaching Award Winner

Evelyn Davis-Walker
Assistant Professor
Valdosta State Universit
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I have always been interested in the melding of the historical and the contemporary—tradition with experimentation. When designing new and exciting methods of engagement with my design students, I wanted a unique experience that was not offered anywhere else. Upon my arrival to Valdosta State University, I wrote a grant to help acquire letterpress equipment and supplies used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

My initial interest was to preserve a vital part of graphic design history for students to study and appreciate. What I ended up developing was a proposal in which I infused 100-year old historic machinery with today’s 3D printing and laser cutting technology capabilities. Once I was able to restore the vintage printing press, I recreated type  (letters) through the use of 3D printers and laser cutters. Ensuring the letters were the exact size for utilization on the press, I printed specific type/fonts currently unavailable in our library of letters. The ability to customize and create three-dimensional letters and eventually illustrations is game-changing. Students will have the capabilities to print in a traditional method of graphic design while using ideas, styles and messages of a 21st century student.  

I am also honored to be featured alongside my fellow Art & Design colleagues in the 4th issue of the 2019 Valdosta State Magazine for my imaginative pairing of old and new processes. In the article, Changing How Art is Made: VSU Merges Old-School Techniques and New Technology to Revolutionize Creative Instruction, I discuss my desire to merge old and new processes in my classroom. My job as an educator is to present content of today to my students, acknowledge what had been done in the past on a historical level, and most importantly, make new pathways for learning for the future.

Students in ART 3091, Introduction to Graphic Design 1, spend the first four weeks off the computer; understanding the history of graphic design through hand-lettering and letterpress printing. This is both frustrating and freeing to the students upon learning of the scheduled structure on the first day of class. 

Students are exposed to the historic practice of arranging and printing letters on paper to communicate a message. The process is painstaking, complex and imperfect—all aspects that become substantially easier once the computer is introduced in week five. In addition to the incorporation of the computer, students have been integrating 3D printing and laser cutting as means of experimentation – the blending of traditional and technology. My on-going research and scholarship regarding traditional and contemporary processes (integration of traditional and technology), has been fascinating. Below is a breakdown of the multi-phased project introducing students to the art of typography.

PROJECT 1 – Structure and Breakdown
This first assignment in Graphic Design 1 began with each student choosing one word that described their unique personality. 

PHASE ONE: HAND LETTERING
Each student created 20 abstracted 4” x 6” compositions by hand with black ink. The students were expressive by using only letters that helped spell their word. By restricting the designer to create abstract compositions, students focused on pattern, repetition, scale and unity as design principles in a non-representational expression through the use of typography. 

PHASE TWO: CUT PAPERA
critique of the hand-lettering compositions were discussed as a class and the strongest three compositions were chosen to move forward into cut-paper iterations. (1-class vote, 1-professor vote, 1-individual designer vote.) The cut paper pieces were direct facsimiles of the hand-lettering designs, however color theory and relationships of positive and negative were addressed specifically with this phase.

PHASE THREE & FOUR: LASER CUT & HAND STAMPING
Technology was introduced in these two phases by scanning the strongest cut paper design and digitally preparing it for laser cutting in the wood-shop. Students glued their wooden letters onto a board, thus creating a mirrored design for hand-stamping. Using ink and rollers, designers stamped their digitized wooden blocks onto 4” x 6” cards.

PHASE FIVE: LETTERPRESS
The final phase involved understanding one of the oldest forms of graphic design, letterpress printing. While the first few phases involved focusing on the abstracted word, the letterpress printing was a direct and literal compositional print of the word’s definition. Students were trained on type-setting, inking and operation of the century-old machine. To successfully complete this phase, their focus involved typographical rules such as leading, kerning, line flow and line direction.


Evelyn Davis-Walker holds a B.A. in Visual Communication and Computer Art from Otterbein University and an M.F.A. in Advertising Design from Marywood. 

In 2010, Evelyn was awarded 25 for 25 AOL International Art Grant where 25 winners (9,000 applicants) were funded $25,000. Evelyn designed individual memory games for 200 Alzheimer’s patients. In 2015, Evelyn received the Otterbein University Young Alumni Recipient for Community Engagement. 

She was a graphic design professor at Virginia State University before coming back to Otterbein to teach Communication Design for eight years. In 2016, Evelyn moved to South Georgia where she currently oversees the Graphic Design area of Valdosta State University’s Art & Design department.  

Along with her commercial design work, Evelyn has a strong affinity for all things paper – from mixed media collage, to creating typographic prints on her letterpress machine. She has received numerous awards and has exhibited in solo, group and juried exhibitions.

Recipient of recognition in the Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2019.

Announcement: Educators Communication Design Awards 2018

Design Incubation, the esteemed awards jury, and Bloomsbury Publishing is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Design Incubation Educators Awards in Communication Design. Thank you to all who entered the competition and those who participated in recognizing the efforts of academics in design research, teaching, and service. Jury chair, María Rogal, writes, “The common thread among these award winners is their ability to profoundly impact our world through design. They each inspire optimism and hope, and reinforce the potential of our discipline.”

CATEGORY: SCHOLARSHIP CREATIVE WORK

Works in Process

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

George Garrastegui
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

What Does Democratic Design Look Like? Establishing the Center for Design in the Public Interest at the University of California, Davis

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Runner Up

Susan Verba
Professor
University of California, Davis

CATEGORY: SCHOLARSHIP PUBLISHED RESEARCH

Unawarded

CATEGORY: TEACHING

Lowering Barriers to Access at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Teaching Award Winner

Helen Armstrong
Associate Professor
North Carolina State University

CATEGORY: SERVICE

LEAP Dialogues: The Educators Guide

Service Award Winner

Mariana Amatullo
Associate Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Andrew Shea
Assistant Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Jennifer May
Director, Designmatters
ArtCenter College of Design

Jurors

Steven McCarthy 
Professor of Graphic Design
University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Jorge Meza Aguilar 
Professor of Strategic Design and Provost for Outreach and Collaboration
Universidad Iberoamericana

Ruki Ravikumar  
Director of Education
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Maria Rogal (Chair)
Professor of Design
University of Florida

Wendy Siuyi Wong 
Professor of Design and Graduate Program Director
York University

 

Science Through Storybooks

Teaching Award Runner-up

Martha Carothers
Professor
University of Delaware

Students created visual storybooks to communicate scientific methods and principles about the ocean and aquatic life to children. The five storybooks teach the scientific findings of published research on tropical coral reef lionfish to children age three to seven. The concept of each individual storybook focuses on a single research finding. Marine Science, Art & Design, and Psychology students in an interdisciplinary course format (three-student teams) created and evaluated the effectiveness of the visual storybooks.

Professors Martha Carothers (Art & Design), Danielle Dixson (Marine Science), and Agnes Ly (Psychology) initiated the storybook course to establish the framework for teaching communication through creative expression, utilizing the skills and expertise throughout the University. Science-based children’s storybooks began with learning how to read a scientific paper, understanding the research findings, and developing a concept map. This was followed by developing the storyline from the concept map and writing the story. Next was illustrating the story, designing the storybook, and producing the hardcopy. The efficacy of the creative, non-traditional communication efforts was evaluated by quantitative data collection during story hours with children.

The long-term outcome of this course is to establish an interdisciplinary and information- synthesis capstone experience to promote engaged, experiential learning that fulfills multiple general education objectives: (1) engage in constructive ideation, (2) to communicate effectively in writing, orally, and through creative expression and (3) work collaboratively and independently within and across contexts and differences, and (4) reason quantitatively and scientifically. These objectives prepare students to meet the broader goal of becoming “engaged citizens, involved in the world around them, and who understand the major challenges and debates of the day.” (University of Delaware General Education Objectives 2014)

Scientific research is front-page news. Sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, climate change, and the collapse of sustainable food sources are some of today’s most pressing news topics facing policymakers, researchers and the general public. A basic understanding of these issues is critical to the overall protection of environmental capital, ecosystem services and society as a whole1. The interdisciplinary scientific principles underlying these topics should therefore be a primary goal of education for our undergraduates.

The storybooks build on previous research indicating that reading aloud with young children is considered one of the best predictors of children’s early reading success2 and despite a scarcity of information books in elementary classrooms, non-fiction reading material plays a role in building children’s background knowledge and vocabulary in content areas3, 4, 5. Therefore, the development of specific science-based picture books could increase awareness for conservation initiatives at an early age, create the mindset of environmental consciousness, and increase early exposure to STEM fields6.

ScienceThroughStorybooks

  1. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) (2011) Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy.
  2. Neuman SB, Copple C and Bredekamp S (2000) Learning to read and write: developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  3. Brabham E, Boyd P, Edgington WD (2000) Sorting it out: elementary students’ response to fact and fiction in information storybooks as read aloud for science and social studies. Reading Research and instruction, 39: 265-290
  4. Duke NK (2000) 3.6 minutes per day: the scarcity of informational text in first grade. Reading Research Quarterly, 35: 202-224
  5. French L (2004) Science as the center of a coherent, integrated early childhood curriculum. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19: 138-149
  6. Leung CB (2008) Preschoolers’ acquisition of scientific vocabulary through repeated read-aloud events, retellings and hands-on science activities. Reading Psychology 29: 165-193

https://www.art.udel.edu/news/Pages/SCIENCE-THROUGH-STORYBOOKS.aspx

http://delawarepublic.org/post/simplifying-science-udel-students-create-children-s-books-research

http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2017/april/science-storytelling/

http://udreview.com/new-class-engages-children-in-science-through-storybooks/

Martha Carothers is Professor of Art & Design at the University of Delaware where she teaches visual communications, typography, book arts, and foundation design. Carothers’ book arts often highlight text about books, reading, and typography. Her artist’s books are letterpress, hand bound, and computer generated under The Post Press. Carothers’ creative work has been exhibited internationally and is included in national and private collections. Carothers’ graduate graphic design research at Penn State University focused on pop-up and moveable books. She continues to research conceptual design and illustration in children’s books. Carothers directed study abroad programs between 2002-2010 to Australia teaching design in the visual arts and introductory digital photography. Carothers was a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar affiliated with the City University of Hong Kong.

Recipient of recognition in the Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2017.

The Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2017

Awards in Scholarship: Published Research, Scholarship: Creative Work, Teaching, Service. Sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Design Incubation Communication Design Educators Awards 2017 is a competition. We offer recognition in 4 academic categories in the field of Communication Design:

  • Scholarship: Published Research
  • Scholarship: Creative Work (design research, creative production, and/or professional practice)
  • Teaching
  • Service  (departmental, institutional, community)

The purpose of these awards is to showcase design excellence and ingenuity in the academic study of design. We are excited to announce a partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing who are sponsoring this year’s awards.

Entries will be accepted starting March 1, 2017. Deadline is May 31, 2017. Complete the online entry form here.

Category: Scholarship Creative Work

Portraits of Obama: Media, Fidelity, and the 44th President
Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

Kareem Collie

Lecturer

Harvey Mudd

Stanford University

Category: Scholarship Published Research

Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities
Scholarship: Published Research Award Winner

Jessica Barness

Associate Professor
Kent State University


Amy Papaelias

Assistant Professor
SUNY New Paltz

Category: Service

The Sit&Tell Project
Service Award Winner

Jenn Stucker
Associate Professor
Bowling Green State University

Category: Teaching

BMORE Than The Story
Teaching Award Winner

Audra Buck-Coleman
Associate Professor

University of Maryland College Park

 

White Plains Storefront Project: Art In Vacant Spaces
Teaching Award Runner-up

Warren Lehrer

Professor
School of Art+Design
Purchase College, SUNY
Founding Faculty Member
Designer as Author Graduate Program
SVA (School of Visual Arts)

 

Science Through Storybooks
Teaching Award Runner-up

Martha Carothers

Professor

University of Delaware

Jurors

Audrey Bennett
Professor
Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Steven McCarthy (Chair)
Professor of Graphic Design
University of Minnesota

Emily McVarish
Associate Professor
Graphic Design; Design; Writing
California College of Art

Maria Rogal
Professor of Graphic Design
University of Florida

David Shields
Associate Professor & Chair of Department of Graphic Design
Virginia Commonwealth University

For details on how to enter, go to the Awards Application Process page.

Announcement of Awards

The awards will be announced the first week of September 2017.

Intercultural Design Collaborations in Sustainability

Working remotely as cross-cultural teams, students explore ways design can address sustainable behaviors and lifestyle choices around diverse topics such as food, water, environmental degradation, social justice and cultural preservation.

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt and Denielle Emans work together in an ongoing series of semester-long collaborations with their respective students to make meaningful connections between the concept of sustainability and people’s day-to-day lives. Working remotely as cross-cultural teams, students explore ways design can address sustainable behaviors and lifestyle choices around diverse topics such as food, water, environmental degradation, social justice and cultural preservation. The semester typically culminates in a public exhibition on each campus, enabling students to share their concepts and communications with their local communities. Additionally, the most recent student exhibition, “Co-creating sustainable futures: American and Middle Eastern visual design students explore behavior change” was presented at the 2015 Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

gulftogreatlakes.org
restartexhibit.com

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt is Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. She teaches and works primarily in the areas of user experience and service design. Her recent collaborations exploring the socio-cultural benefits of cross-cultural design education and the benefits of integrating sustainability challenges into project-based design courses. Kelly and her collaborator, Denielle Emans, recently presented research at Spaces of Learning: AIGA Design Educators Conference and the 2015 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference and Expo, “Transforming Sustainability Education.” Recent journal publications include “Design Nexus: integrating cross-cultural learning experiences into graphic design education” in Studies in Material Thinking 11: Re/materialising Design Education Futures (co-authored with Prof. Denielle Emans, 2014) and “Sustainability at the forefront: educating students through complex challenges in visual communication and design” in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review (co-authored with Kelly Norris Martin & Denielle Emans, 2015).

Denielle Emans is an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, specializing in the area of experiential design in relation to the conceptualization, development, and execution of visual messages for social change and sustainability. As a designer, she has worked to create print, web, and motion design solutions for clients ranging from software specialists to international institutions. Denielle has published her research in a number of academic journals and presented at numerous conferences across the world. She holds a Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Denielle is currently a Ph.D. Candidate within the Centre for Communication and Social Change at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Recipient of recognition in the Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2016.